Friday, May 20, 2011

Author of Salvation

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 02:10, NKJV).

There are multiple points about this verse that strike me.

Note the phrase, For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory. This is, of course, a reference to the Father's Plan of Redemption, and within it are contained the following truths: 

First, that it was fitting, or natural, or expected, or utterly sensible, for the Father to make Jesus the propitiation of His own justice for the sins of the world. This is an astounding statement about God's indescribable character. The writer of Hebrews is saying, in effect, that because our God is the epitome of goodness and love and grace and mercy, then it follows that He would inevitably provide His beloved Son to do what we could not do to bring us to glory

That is His desire, to be with us in glory, and He gave His Son to the Cross to make that possible. He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how could He not also freely give us all things? That is how the Apostle Paul described the very same idea.

Secondly, this gracious Father is the very same Person for whom and by whom are all things. It is not some angel or other heavenly subordinate that came up with this unfathomable plan and carried it out, but the Omnipotent Creator Himself. This should shock you. Our redemption was of such primary importance to God, that He took care of it personally. He declared Himself responsible and accountable for it. It was at His instigation that the Son was given and crucified.

Thirdly, that His goal was to purchase us out of the slavery of sin and death and bring us to glory. Rebellious mankind, steeped in disgrace and enmity against God, was, and is, a remarkable focus of His love. He wants us with Him, and will spare no expense, not even His Son, to make that possible.

Note also this jewel, the captain of their salvation. As the first is a reference to the Father, this is a reference to Christ. The word translated captain can also mean leader and author. Taking all three connotations together we get this equally remarkable insight into the inestimable character of the Son. He is the One who set His face like flint  to go to the Cross and complete the work the Father had given Him to do. As such, He lead the way, and commanded the means of our redemption - faith in His voluntary sacrifice on our behalf. 

More than that, Christ is the one who wrote large in history the very concept of divine sacrifice, something we could not have devised in a million, billion years - God Himself dying to make eternal life available to his self-worshiping creatures. This was an act so unexpectedly heroic, noble and gracious that tears of amazement and gratitude should well up within us for the rest of eternity.

In light of this, I believe the question in regard to God's justice is not, as is often asked, How can He condemn unrepentant sinners to an eternity of torment? But is instead, How could He lay down His own glorious and sinless life for such as us? We do nothing to earn everlasting life. He does it all. Christ is both the author and finisher of our faith.

And finally this - how does the unblemished, unstained, and divine Son of God lack any perfection so that the Father had to perfect Him through suffering? In what was He lacking, and for what purpose did He require perfecting?

The answer to these questions illuminates even more of the glory and superiority of Christ, which is the overriding theme of Hebrews, and it is this: to be the payment for our sin, to become the perfect sacrifice, He had to suffer. This is the same as an innocent animal's blood being shed as a temporary covering for sin, but on an infinite larger scale. For Christ to be the means of our redemption, He had to suffer and die.

As God, He could do neither.

Only as the Son of Man on the Cross could He complete the work, and be made our perfect and effective once-for-all sacrifice.

Think for a moment about what this says of the beauty of our Savior… and the indelible ugliness of our sin.

Then let your heart sing with joy inexpressible that we were considered worthy of such extravagant love and grace, and bow down and worship in gratitude and awe the great God of our Salvation.